Hand in Hand’s 1st Annual Bubble Football and Fun Day
I have no idea of how Bubble Football was dreamed up; and frankly, I don’t want to know. You see, I have my own theory: it was created after a brainstorming session by a group of drunken students at three o’clock in the morning. That has to be it. I mean, what other sane explanation can there be? So in my mind there they are, sitting around discussing the Bubble Footie 014merits of their favourite soccer teams and one of them pipes up with: “Wait a minute, what if we put them inside a giant reinforced plastic bubble and laughed our heads off as they rolled around the place!”
Yes, whatever the real truth, I think that I’m going to go with that; but back to the Bubble Football in a moment.
Yesterday—Sunday the 29th of June—was Hand in Hand’s long-awaited– and much-anticipated by connoisseurs of good, dignified entertainment everywhere– 1st Annual Inter-Company Bubble Football Challenge and Family Fun Day at the Galway Sportsground (Watch out for a more manageable moniker next year!)
We are firstly sending out one huge ‘thank you’ to Hand in Hand volunteer Taryn Schuller, who not only came up with the original concept but who then took on the gargantuan task of organizing the whole thing.
Bubble Footie 039As well as keeping contact with the teams who would be playing, she had to make sure that there was also food, drink and (of course) ice cream available throughout the day. Then there was the organizing of a bouncy castle and a slide for the kids as well as an adult Twister. She thought of everything, including face painting for both kids and adults. And as if handling this mammoth undertaking with assurance and aplomb weren’t enough, she arranged for the sun to be splitting the rocks, not a cloud in the sky and then went and had her own face painted with the Hand in Hand logo. Now that really is beyond the call of duty! (Cute, though.)Photo

Sarah and Amy
When we took a break from the football, one of the highlights for us involved two of our favourite young ladies from last year. You may recall that identical twins Sarah and Amy McMahon made the extraordinary offer of having their hair cut (and remember it never had been) and donated to the Rapunzel Foundation, which manufactures secure and realistic wigs for those who have lost their own hair. For obvious reasons we were stunned and thankful for the generosity of these two remarkable girls from Briahill Primary School in Galway.
If ever two parents were justified in being proud, it was Mary and Gerald McMahon, who watched with older sisters Katelyn and Lauren as the twins remained unflinching in the face of photographers, a beaming crowd of admirers and some very large scissors.

Bubble Footie 022Jennifer interrupts this article here as we must makBubble Footie 035e mention of our own Charley Brady who had been cultivating his locks for many months and bravely had the entire lot shaved off in the name of Hand in Hand!  Well done Mr B and thank you. (Back to you Charley)…
Those about to Bubble…We Salute You!
Meanwhile, before and after that the Games were on! There were twelve teams competing: Avaya, Ambulance Service, City Bin, Fidelity, IBM, EA, the Olde Brewery, Boston Scientific, KBC, MixGreens, Advant Medical and our own dear Taryn’s company, HP.
By heavens, this lot were a tough bunch—or slightly deranged, according to your point of view— because rolling around in yesterday’s heat whilst trapped in a giant plastic bubble looked a bit much for this exercise-shy watcher. And every player went at it with such enormous enthusiasm.
I’m going to have to throw in an aside here on the team that I was cheering: my local, the Old Brewery. I don’t think that Brendan Ryan, the team captain —loose term, very loose—had actually grasped the idea that the basic concept was to kick the ball through the posts of the opposing team. During briefing he had obviously been instructed to run into his own players or the side-barriers, both of which he did depending on his mood. That is when he wasn’t rolling around upside doBubble Footie 001wn with legs in the air, of course. I mopped my brow and was thankful that I hadn’t put a bet on them as they crashed into oblivion to the tune of five-nil.
If I were a gambling man, however, I would have chanced the Ambulance Crew. Right from the first match they looked determined to win—and, in the fullness of time, so it proved when they triumphed over the tenacious HP team in the final.
Of course, it was all in fun and the spirit of the day that was in it; although if you saw the Hand in Hand Bubble Football Winners’ Cup you too would have been willing to risk life and limb whilst shedding blood, sweat and tears in order to possess this fine trophy. Development Officer Jennifer Carpenter had obviously spared no expense when she dipped into the petty cash and found a lonely fiver there, blinking in the light.
All of this excitement and good humoured entertainment was done to a background of great music from DJ Twirly Chassis. Twirly is a riot: not only funny, not only with great taste in music but with the best legs in the business. Not even a stray ball crashing into her equipment (ahem!) put a frown on her face—well, perhaps just a little one. Still, she soon cheered up when she saw the Connacht Rugby Team strutting their stuff in front of her.
Seriously, though: Twirly, you were great and your generosity in giving your time is enormously appreciated.
Whilst I’m at it, I have to mention volunteer Liam Higgins, the man with the strongest handshake in Galway. He spent the afternoon refereeing every match and in that heat it’s a task not to be dismissed.
All in all, it was a terrific day and one that we have no hesitation in making an annual event.
Hand in Hand would also like to give its heart-felt thanks to…

The Teams: HP, EA, Boston Scientific, Fidelity, Avaya, IBM, The Citybin Co, MixGreens, KBC Bank, The Olde Brewery, Advant Medical, Ambulance Service.

Raffle Sponsors: PC World, Craughwell Pharmacy, Dela-Brunch, Fat Tony’s, Mileage Tyres, Woodies, The Staff of EA, Toys4You, Loughwell Farm Park, Beattys, The Planet, Claregalway Hotel, Amber, Cunniffe Electric, Connacht Rugby, Dungons & Donuts, The Resting Tree, InstaPrint, PrintedCanvas.ie.

Sponsorship: Clada Water, HP, Musgrave Market Place, Paul Allen Hair Salon, Irish Inflatables, Galway Red Cross, Henry’s Boerewors Cart, American Ice Cream Van Hire, Finches.

Referee: Liam Higgins

Ball Boy: Daragh Higgins

And the wonderful team of volunteers who made this such a spectacular day.